State of Hawai‘i - Imagery
See also: Hawai‘i Island Imagery
Satellite: LandSat / MODIS
- LandSat scene map for the islands. As you
can see, it takes 4 scenes to cover the Big Island, 2 for Oahu, and only 1
for each of the other islands:
- In June 2004, ordered
EarthSat GeoCover NaturalVue (LandSat 15m merge) for the islands.
- The full uncompressed size of the five tiles is 5.4 GB.
- A thumbnail view:
- Image quality is variable - great in some areas, rather strange
color in other areas.
- There is a lot of cloud cover, including a significant amount of
- a stunning
MODIS image of the whole state (250m, true color, not georeferenced?)
- Hawaii IKONOS
- the consortium "amalgamates resources from a number of stakeholders
to procure digital, orthorectified, multispectral and pan sharpened
color IKONOS (Space Imaging) satellite imagery of the eight main islands
- if you become a member, you can order imagery from 2000 onwards at
- it costs between $17000 to $57000 to join
Aerial: USGS/USDA (NRCS/APFO) NAPP/DOQ (esp. "Emerge")
- According to the US federal websites, there is no NAPP or DOQ (yet) for
the state. However, the situation is far more complicated than that. There
- A set of greyscale OrthoQuads from
1977-1978 with partial coverage of the state.
- A set of greyscale DOQ from 1993-1995 with complete coverage of the
state, which are derived from NIMA products and are hence not public
domain. They are, however, apparently used internally by USGS to update
- A project by the USDA to gather real NAPP/DOQ for all the islands:
The history of the
Where to get it:
- To get the Emerge CIR imagery resampled into huge files, one per island,
look on the USGS Hawaii Data
Clearinghouse. However, note that they did a "color space merge" for a
"continuous color tone", which mangles the RGB values so that they no longer
correspond to the original bands. This prevents one from doing any
reasonable approximate recreation of truecolor.
- To get the CIR Emerge original tiles, you'll need to politely ask some
federal employees. It's best if you understand the
first. I have the incomplete copy of the tiles which I received on DVD from
USGS. See VTP Collection of Hawaii Emerge
A separate initiative:
- August 2004: a
DigitalGlobe press release claims they will produce "DOQQ" not from
aerial photos, but from the QuickBird satellite
- Strangely, they are not being delivered to the USGS but instead to
- mentioned is Craig
Tasaka, of the state of Hawaii's Office of Planning
- apparently this is a closed commercial
license, not public data like normal DOQ
- what became of this? did it go ahead, in
parallel with the Hawaii IKONOS Consortium?
US Army Corps of Engineers DOQQ
- In 2005, the US ACE produced a set of 'DOQQ' for the islands, which are
similar to USGS DOQQ, except that some (false) color information is
present. The metadata credits the USDA-NRCS as the source of the data, so
they are definitely based on the Emerge aerials. These DOQQs can be found
for the Big Island
on the PDC
or for the other islands by starting at their
Data Explorer and Browse down through
> data > hawaiian_islands > (island) > raster > doq
- The coverage has most of the same gaps as the Emerge data. For
comparison, here is the 'DOQQ' coverage for the Big Island side by side with
the Emerge tiles that i've been able to locate as of 2007:
NOAA Aerial Photographs of Hawai‘i
- a set of georeferenced truecolor aerial photos of coastal areas, mostly
1-3 meter resolution
- color space is inconsistent, and some are fairly cloudy
- found these images in MrSID format in September 2004, linked from the
Hawai‘i State GIS site, credited to NOAA, and they are hosted on the NOAA
server, although i couldn't find mention of them on the NOAA site, and by
the end of 2005 they had vanished
- didn't find any index maps, so i produced these coverage snapshots:
Benthic Habitat Mapping of Main Hawaiian Islands -
Hawaii Image Finder
- has (had?) the original images used to produce the above shoreline
- they look like 9x9inch photo scans of Air Survey Hawaii imagery,
- much higher resolution and better color than the MrSID strips, but
UH Manoa MAGIS
- The Aerial
Photographs Viewer provides access to a state-wide catalog of
(mostly old, historical, 1950s/1960s) aerial photos. Some are
georeferenced; many are not.
- Founded recently (2007) with the goal of bringing fast,
high-resolution, affordable imagery to the Hawai'i market.
- They fly an efficient plane, using a digital SLR with attached
laptop so they can acquire huge imagery continuously.
- Although based in Haleiwa (Oahu), they should be able to reach the
other islands easily.
- Air Flight Service (AFS)
- Reported in 2006: "A California company that came to Hawaii several
years ago to do a specific job and have stayed ever since. They have a
very modern up to date digital camera (Lidar) in their plane and they
are located right behind where Air Survey Hawaii was. They have a
permanent staff out here in Hawaii. The person to call is Jack
- Hawaii Aviation - Air Survey
- In October 2005, Hawaii Aviation Contract Services, Inc. (HACS)
bought the assets of Air Survey Hawai‘i, which
was apparently the only air survey company in Hawaii from 1970 to
- Air Survey Hawai‘i was a relatively
low-tech company in Honolulu, no website or email, no digital
delivery - just photographic prints.
- Claimed complete infrared coverage of the islands, but only
partial visible coverage.
- Standard aerial photo size is 9" x 9"; like most aerial photos,
they have no georegistration at all.
- According to the new company, "The business of delivering digital
files and photos from the extensive library of negatives continues. The
library contains imagery (B&W, CIR & Natural Color) that goes back to
1970 and it's content continues to grow with new imagery. Acquiring
imagery for topography mapping projects is also among the services that
- Contact: Peter Gonsalves - Operations Manager, 22 Lagoon Dr.,
Honolulu, HI 96819, (808) 833-4881,
- The Hawaii Aviation website doesn't have any information about their
Air Survey activities, yet.
- DigitalGlobe (commercial hi-res satellite imagery vendor)
- From 2002 onwards, DigitalGlobe's catalog contains many hi-res
images of Hawaii. These have been licensed by Google, to provide an
incomplete but impressive coverage in Google Maps and Google Earth.
- A typical image from
the DigitalGlobe archive states:
resolution: 0.61 meters
Multi Resolution 2.44
- The visible resolution quality appears even better than those specs
(looks like sub-meter truecolor aerial).
- However, Google's license of DigitalGlobe's images is exclusive
) at least for online display. That means nobody but Google can use
them in their full resolution. We can access them through Google Earth
/ Google Maps, but not any other way.
- Horizontal accuracy
- The registration accuracy varies from one set of DigitalGlobe
imagery to another.
- For example, for the area near my house in Ahualoa, relative to
a fully-accurate surveyed position:
The 2003 imagery in Google Earth is 12 meters South
The 2009 imagery in Google Earth is 5-6 meters Southwest
- SPOT Statewide
- in November 1994, a special deal was negotiated to make cloud-free
coverage of the entire state available for around $5,000 from SPOT
- the deal was never entirely finished
- the State GIS site indicates that SPOT is still in the
process of filling in the statewide database
- 2000.01.20 status: according to TerraSystems, SPOT raised the price
from $5k to $40k, and delivered very poor quality data, the state and
other parties are still getting occasional updates
- Geo InSight provides all types
of imagery along with their business of GIS consulting and training
- they are involved in an initiative to establish a "Public/Private
Partnership to Acquire and Maintain Geospatial Data of the Hawaiian
Archipelago, Asia, and the Pacific"
- November 1999 completed a Geospatial Data Needs Assessment Survey,
organized by Geo InSight and
Pacific Air Forces Headquarters
- Silent Eye Aerial Photography
- They use silent electric radio controlled helicopters for high
resolution digital photography for a variety of applications.
- "Silent eye's highly trained pilot flies the helicopter to the
necessary locations while the photographer operates the camera. The two
technicians communicate through wireless headsets. The high resolution
digital camera mounted on the helicopter has a small wireless
transmitter that allows a live, real time, full color transmission of
what the camera sees. These images are transmitted to a laptop computer
monitor for image viewing and framing. Once the proper angle and
position is acquired, the pictures are taken and then stored on the
camera. The computer monitor serves only as a viewfinder. The helicopter
is then landed, the camera's memory card is removed and the photos are
then downloaded to the laptop for final review, image adjustments and
- It is not quite suited for survey or other geospatial applications,
since the helicopter can only fly so high (remaining within line of
sight of the operator) so the photos are unavoidable oblique and
- Free images from the
Remote Image Navigator of the
- Reportedly as of 2005, NASA AVIRIS
has been flying a series of missions over Hawaii (hyperspectral imagery).
However, the AVIRIS site and program is sufficiently unfriendly that i was
unable to confirm this.